Tuesday, 29 March 2011
Hothouse Flower, Lucinda Riley
We don't get to see much of the War itself, instead, after an interlude concentrating on Julia's twenty first century romance with the current Lord of Wharton Park, the book skips forward to 1945, when Harry is released from being a prisoner of war in Thailand. Riley doesn't dwell on Harry and the other men's suffering, but instead shows their effects on Harry afterwards, as he recovers from serious illness. There are gorgeous descriptions of ife in Bangkok in the aftermath of the war, and through Harry's affair with a hotel employee, Lidia, Riley explores the conflicts that can occur between love and duty. With Rachel Hore's novel, my one complaint was that everything was resolved too easily, with too many tidy coincidences tying up the loose ends. Lucinda Riley does avoids this trap, with her plots getting messy, seemingly with no good ending. I found it somewhat uncomfortable reading at times, with the troubling suspicion that the author wanted to take the side of the adulterous couple, that sexual love should rule at the cost of everything else. Then, back in the 21st century, Julia finds herself in a situation that seems to have no happy ending. The plot gradually draws together the strands of past and present, with plenty of twists in the tale, echoes of past in present, before the two stories become parts of a whole.
The House At Riverton - Kate Morton
A Place of Secrets - Rachel Hore
Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
Atonement - Ian McEwan